MUNCIE, Indiana — A judge said a Muncie man turned a blind eye to his wife's fatal abuse of her young Haitian cousin and then sentenced him Monday to 56 years in prison.
Delaware Circuit Judge Thomas Cannon Jr. told Marcus Tabb that he should have protected 5-year-old Marie Pierre from the abuse or reported it to authorities.
"You owed Marie a duty to protect her from being abused," Cannon said.
Tabb, 55, declined to make a statement at the hearing, The Star Press reported (http://tspne.ws/1y4ECHL ). He testified during his trial that he lived apart from his wife, Charlene Tabb, and didn't know the abuse was occurring.
A jury convicted Tabb of child neglect in October. Jurors also found him guilty of three counts of aiding, inducing or causing battery in connection with wife's beatings of her three younger siblings — which Marcus Tabb had videotaped — and three counts of neglect of a dependent, based on allegations the siblings lived in a house without adult supervision for several months.
Authorities said Charlene Tabb and two of her siblings tortured and abuse Marie in the months before her death. A pathologist said Marie had more than 80 cuts, bruises and burns in various stages of healing when she died.
Prosecutors Jeffrey Arnold and Eric Hoffman had recommended Tabb receive a maximum 78-year sentence.
"It takes a special kind of person to just stand by and watch that happen," Arnold said.
Marcus Tabb's attorney, Ross Thomas, said the sentence was what he expected.
"I was pleased the judge didn't give him a maximum sentence, but when it's over 50 years, you're talking a long time," Thomas said.
Charlene Tabb is serving an 87-year prison sentence for her cousin's death and the mistreatment of her siblings.
Testimony during her trial indicated her siblings and Marie moved from Florida to the Tabbs' Muncie home in July 2012. Prosecutors said the siblings lived in the house alone for several months while the couple used video cameras to monitor their activities from another home about two miles away.
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com
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